Logan’s Run 1976 ***

logan's run

George Pal left the Logan’s Run project because he thought it was too late to cash in on the wave of sci-fi in the late 1960’s and early 70’s; the arrival of Star Wars a year later proved him wrong. But for 1976, Logan’s Run has quite a bit going for it for genre aficionados; there are a few scenes where the look of the film is very much Death Star chic. Michael York plays Logan, and unfortunately the nature of his run is rather less exciting than the poster suggest; Logan rarely runs, rarely even walks quickly; Logan’s Long Stand Around Listing To Exposition captures the mood better, notably a dull climax which involves getting to Washington DC listening to Peter Ustinov’s tedious Old Man character waffle on about cats and T.S. Elliot. To get to this point, Logan 5 is introduced as a Sandman, charged with hunting down those who seek to escape the law of the year 2274, where they have a ban on age; at 30, everyone has to go to the Carousel for rebirth, or face being hunted down. Logan meets agitator Jessica 6 (Jenny Agutter) and goes on the run, but although some of the sets and miniatures are pretty cool, there’s a lack of visual cohesion that leads to a lack of energy. The emphases on sex is rather misplaced, with several orgies, and the characters frequently stripping down in a way that belies the family friendly nature of the sci-fi adventure concept. Farrah Fawcett has a couple of scenes, and Roscoe Lee Browne has a short by memorable scene as a killer robot called Box. There’s not enough of this kind of danger in Logan’s Run, but despite some awful dialogue, Michael Anderson’s still a curiosity piece for fans of retro 70’s style.

Sometimes Always Never 2019 ***

Big-name writer Frank Cottrell Boyce adapting his own short story is the selling point here. Sometimes Always Never is about Alan, a widowed Scrabble-obsessed grandpa (Bill Nighy) who ignores his son Peter (Sam Reilly),  Peter’s wife Sue (Alice Lowe) and his grandchild. The reason for his neglect is that Alan is obsessed by his other son, who has been missing for years after walking out on a game of Scrabble. Father and son go to view and potentially identify a dead body, leading Alan to have an affair with Jenny Agutter under the nose of her husband (Tim McInnery). Alan is also playing Scrabble online with a mysterious man; could this be the missing son? The original title, Triple Word Score, makes more sense that the one used here, which relates to the buttons on a man’s suit and when you should button them. This simple narrative might have worked as s short story, but it feels more like an afternoon radio play than a film. That said, Nighy is always good, and has plenty to get his teeth into for once, and it’s nice to see him playing a real person and not phoning it in as a vampire overlord. The wistful, melancholic air is pervasive, and while slight, Sometimes Always Never is the kind of tiny, but mature and worthwhile film that’s worth highlighting.